It’s been a big couple of weeks in my personal world, and of course this translates beautifully into my business world and once again all the things I am learning they need to know too, and it all arrives in perfect time.
So, my question to you is, how good are you at staying in your own business? Or like me, does love look like being all up in other people’s business?
Here’s what I mean (coz this isn’t about business business, it’s about personal business):
When it comes to being a wife and a mother (mostly) I have not been particularly good at sticking with what’s mine and letting others resolve what’s theirs with either themselves or other people. To me I feel this great responsibility to keep others happy and be the mediator and communicator between and tell them how to sort things out or to sort things out for them. The justification of this has been either that it’s my job (as a mum) or it’s love (as a wife and a mum), and that to be a kind, loving and supportive person it’s necessary. When you write such ridiculous things down they appear, as I’ve already said, totally ridiculous. But ridiculous or no, they’ve been creating much havoc.
Let’s start with love relationships (husbands, partners, boyfriends and such). As women, we tend to be very good at seeing someone’s potential. Generally, quite justified but at times completely irrational and warped by our own desire for someone to meet the ‘requirements’ of a ‘good’ partner. We also can tend to taking on the responsibility to help them fulfil that potential and/or be happy. Have you ever tried to make a person happy? It’s exhausting, especially if they’re not a particularly happy person or in the midst of whatever they need to work out about themselves and/or life so they can experience more joy. Have you ever tried to encourage or advise a person (especially a lover) to do something that might make them feel happy/better/more confident/successful/etc? How did that go? Mostly, I suspect, they felt worse and then tried to defend their current (probably shitty) position and failed to see the (probably good) point you were trying to make and may have even rebelled and done the opposite or nothing at all. Or done it at your suggestion and then resented you for it and brought it up later. And the reason all this happens? It’s NOT your business.
When you focus on someone else’s business:
1. They don’t have to, because you’ve got all the worrying/stress/motivation covered.
2. You don’t have to focus on your own business and sorting out the things that worry/stress/motivate you.
3. It will be easy to feel like the problem is them, and if they sort their issues and stress, everyone will feel better and they won’t do anything to sort the issue or stress and the problem won’t get sorted it will just grow in size and focus and energy and no-one gets on with the fully important job of sorting out their own business.
And then there’s kids. Who to me it seems are obsessed with having me in their business. They ASK for that shit. They are all DOBBERS. To the extreme. I just thought that this was to do with them. It’s not. Sorry to disappoint but dobbing is not just a personality attribute of some kids. It’s an attention seeking behaviour and when you get involved, it works. I have forever tried to get my children to see that if they are mean to each other they hurt the other person and that’s not nice or kind, or how to be a good sister. In every effort to get them to apologise or make up for their behaviour I got a lot of half-hearted or even purely sarcastic apologies before they all moved on and I was left feeling like I had failed as a mother. Once I decided to stay out of their business and meet their dobbing and carry-on in front of me with “this is between you and her/him and I know you can sort it out” and remove my energy gently from the space they sorted it out. Every. Single. Time. They don’t need me to mediate or instruct. They need me to be happy and calm and trust in their ability to be a human and work with other humans. The same goes for micro-managing them. It was causing me no end of stress and exhaustion every morning, and much repetitive reminding about what they needed to do next. My kids are finally 9 and above (I am sorry if your kids are still 4 and under, the bit about you being happy and calm is true, but they do need more support at a practical level – just don’t get caught micro-managing or you, like me, will end up doing it for 20 years with various kids before you realise) and they can do EVERYTHING. Like literally, everything. And my job is just to let them get on with that whilst going about my own business – which is all the stuff I need to do to get ready for my day. More than once (actually somewhere in the hundreds) it has been time to leave for school and I have been still wearing my leopard print velour dressing gown (the best thing K-Mart ever made!), and everyone else is managed within an inch of their lives and my business is not. I’m ready to hit the public arena with my business barely covered.
I’m not suggesting this will be easy. But it can be. It can be as simple as a decision and then paying attention to what’s your business and your business only. You can tell people once you’re not going to be in their business anymore and that’s the new way, and you may have to bite your tongue a lot in the first few weeks. And then, it becomes the new way of doing business.
Now, when it comes to the business business I just got a Business Manager. It has been life changing and basically, I asked if it was her job to manage me! And, not in those words, but I’m pretty sure she said yes. And I felt like this huge pressure had lifted (by the way I am aware she’s not managing me, but she’s managing the business business of me – the creative part that needs organising and structure and deadlines and someone focussed on all the parts underneath and behind the business).
So I get why sometimes when you’ve handed over the responsibility of your personal business (happiness) to someone else to manage (implicitly or explicitly) it momentarily could feel like less pressure. But you also have less power, and mostly over yourself. Which can momentarily feel like less responsibility, and if you’re used to being in other people’s business and being responsible for them, this could also feel good. Until it doesn’t.
So be clear which business you’re in. And if you want any kind of relationship to work there needs to be clear intentions, expectations, boundaries and communication and you need to entirely be the boss of your personal business. Which means mind your own business babe, you’re the expert of that.
If you enjoyed reading this you might also like ‘Why I love my Bookkeeper and other not-so-misguided affections’.